WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday once again rebuffed growing calls to send the House’s articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate for trial and refused to provide a timetable for doing so, saying only that after weeks of delay, she would probably move “soon.”
Ms. Pelosi reiterated a call for Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, to detail the rules for a Senate trial so she could choose a team of lawmakers to prosecute the House’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress case.
“I keep giving you the same answer,” the speaker said at her weekly news conference. “As I said right from the start, we need to see that the arena in which we’re sending our managers. Is that too much to ask?”
“I will send them over when I’m ready,” Ms. Pelosi added, “and that will probably be soon.”
Voting largely along party lines, the Democratic-led House impeached Mr. Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in the days before Christmas. But the speaker elected not to immediately send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, in a bid to pressure the Republican-led chamber into allowing additional witnesses and documents Mr. Trump blocked during the House’s three-month inquiry.
Without them, Democrats have argued, the trial will be fundamentally tainted, and effectively continue a cover-up they say Mr. Trump has directed from the start.
But Mr. McConnell said this week that he had secured the votes necessary to begin a trial on his own terms, without an agreement on hearing from witnesses or admitting new evidence. Mr. McConnell has said he will work in concert with Mr. Trump’s legal team to bring about a speedy acquittal in the Senate, after a House impeachment proceeding he has condemned as unfair and based on a shoddy case.
On Thursday, Mr. McConnell compared the speaker’s approach to “junior-varsity political hostage situations.”
“This is what they have done,” he said on the Senate floor before Ms. Pelosi spoke. “They have initiated one of the most grave and most unsettling processes in our Constitution and then refused to allow a resolution.”
On Twitter, Mr. Trump accused Ms. Pelosi of balking because she had no case against him, saying that the articles “show no crimes and are a joke and a scam!”
Taking her turn in what has become a daily rhetorical fight with Mr. McConnell, Ms. Pelosi accused the Republican leader of trying to cover up the facts of the case in a rush to acquit Mr. Trump. She rejected his insistence that the Senate would proceed just as it did in 1999, when it tried President Bill Clinton for high crimes and misdemeanors.
“Witnesses, facts, truth — that’s what they’re afraid of,” Ms. Pelosi said.
Ms. Pelosi, though, is under mounting pressure to deliver the charges. Some Democrats in the House and Senate have begun to voice impatience with the delay, saying that it was clear that Mr. McConnell would not relent on the rules for the trial, and it was time for Ms. Pelosi to allow the proceeding to move forward.
Earlier Thursday morning, before Ms. Pelosi spoke to reporters, a senior Democrat from Washington became the first House chairman to publicly urge the speaker to move on.
“I think it is time to send the impeachment to the Senate and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial,” Representative Adam Smith of Washington, who leads the House Armed Services Committee, said on CNN.
But Mr. Smith soon walked backed the comments in a message on Twitter, saying that he “misspoke,” and deferred to Ms. Pelosi if she believed that continuing to withhold the articles would “help force a fair trial in the Senate.”